I replaced an old 96 inch electric baseboard heater. It was hooked up right and ran for about a month. It then started to smell, and the 2 black wires had melted the cap right off. It never tripped the breaker and was still running. I redid the 2 black wires but around the wires it does have a light smell and it ticks like a clock when running. Is this normal or could this new heater be no good?

  • Why did you replace the old one -- what made it fail? What's the model number of the old and new one? Are you sure they are both designed for the same voltage?
    – Johnny
    Mar 7, 2016 at 0:26
  • What gauge is the wire? What is the breaker's rating? How many watts is the heater?
    – TomG
    Mar 7, 2016 at 0:32
  • ... and who made the panel? Approximately how old is it? Mar 7, 2016 at 0:45

1 Answer 1


The wire nut burned because the connection was not sound. May have been the nut was loose or the wires not paired/lined up cleanly and properly. Either way, this creates a very high resistance connection that can create a LOT of heat under load, and an 8' heater is a pretty good load, typically 250 watts per foot. This resistance is not seen as any extra amperage by the circuit so the breaker does not know anything is wrong.

This problem was not the fault of the heater, it was the poor connection.

The ticking can be typical with baseboard heaters. It's the metal expanding and contracting.

  • the ticking is right at where the wires is. The rest of the heater stops making the noice in a few moments but the ticking does not is that ok? Has a light smell around the wires is that ok? Just want it to be ok. Home built in2000 so wiring does match up. thank you for answering my ?'s
    – user51116
    Mar 8, 2016 at 23:08
  • No, the wiring should not be ticking. The smell could be left over from where the wire burned. I would kill the breaker, take the splices apart, and re-make them. Mar 8, 2016 at 23:10

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